RECRUITING: Scouting TE Aaron Hernandez

A few months ago I got a call from Bob Lichtenfels, out Atlantic Regional scout. In my opinion, Big Bob is one of the best in the business when it comes to evaluating talent, especially talent in his backyard. Bob was all excited about a tight end he found from Bristol (Ct.) Central High School. He claimed he found the best tight end in the country among the class of 2007 and urged me to watch his film. Well Bob, I think you just may have found the nation's top tight end prospect.

(Aaron Hernandez Profile)

When it comes to recruiting and talking about prospects you always hear clichés like he's "athletic" or a "freak". These two superlatives certainly describe Mr. Hernandez. At 6-4 and 235 pounds, we label him as a future tight end prospect but in high school he actually plays wide receiver. You don't see him at the line of scrimmage and blocking at the point of attack or releasing for a route. But folks from the state of Connecticut think he can block just fine. And what he can't do in that regard will come with time and hard work.

What he can do is beat you in a few different ways and pose some serious match up problems for a defense because of his size, speed and athleticism. To be honest with you, he kind of reminds you of a talented tight end prospect from a few season's ago that was just recently a first round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers, Vernon Davis. Hernandez is the same type of player and athlete. People will claim that he doesn't play against the greatest competition in the world but when you watch him and see the things he does on the field, competition really doesn't matter because he does things a 6-4 and 235 pounder just shouldn't do.

First of all Hernandez has terrific, soft hands. He can catch in traffic, he can go get the ball and he uses his hands and body exceptionally well. Even better is the way he can just run right by you, through you and make a move that you would normally see a smaller wide receiver make in the open field. What I am talking about here his quickness and shake and bake. He is quite amazing to watch.

Hernandez will be a valuable weapon at the next level because he can be a flex-tight end in college, meaning he can line up in the slot. He will need to learn to play at the line of scrimmage. Strength is not a problem as he can bench press close to 400 pounds.

I am not a big stats guy when it comes to recruiting, but his numbers last season are off the charts - 67 receptions for 1,807 yards and 24 touchdowns. On defense he recorded 72 tackles, 42 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and four blocked kicks.

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